Snorkel with manta rays and dolphins at newly opened luxury resort InterContinental Maldives
Is a beachfront vacation on the cards this end-of-year? You might want to put your money on the Maldives, or more specifically, the brand new InterContinental Maldives Maamuagau Resort.
A 40-minute flight by seaplane from Male, the resort sits on the southernmost tip of the Raa Atoll, near the Maldives' only UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. This is one of the few places in the world where visitors can snorkel amongst manta rays and dolphins.
Maria Anderson, the resort's inhouse marine biologist says December is a good time to visit as the chances of manta ray sightings are high during this month.
The resort is also accessible by speedboat from Hanifaru Bay, famous for being a nursery ground for grey sharks and stingrays.
General manager Stefan O.Huemer says the resort's selling points are its house reef, a broad flat beach and its lagoon. Besides the usual options of staying in beachfront or overwater villas, guests can also opt to stay in the lagoon villas. These two-storey lagoon villas offer the best of both worlds – an ocean view at the back and direct access to the man-made lagoon and its white sandy beach at the front.
Regardless of location, the 81 villas all have private pools and are designed by Singapore-based architects Eco-ID. Each is spacious and private, so that no one has to see or hear their neighbours. The interiors are by Avalon Collective interior design studio, and have a colourful, bohemian chic vibe about them.
Besides snorkelling, there are other activities to keep you busy. Non-motorised water sports include catamaran sailing, windsurfing and kayaking which are all complimentary.
Otherwise, sip on cocktails at the pool bar, and have a swim, or chill out in a cabana at The Retreat, an adults-only enclave.
Don't miss out on a massage in one of the overwater treatment rooms at the spa. The resort also has an in-house TCM practitioner to help guests restore harmony and balance through treatments such as tuina, acupuncture and cupping.
Guests will be spoilt for choice with the dining options, starting with Cafe Umi, the all-day dining restaurant, where the specialties are local reef fish or Maldivian yellowfin tuna steak grilled over charcoal.
The cuisine at The Lighthouse has a Mediterranean slant, such as slow-cooked octopus and scallops with lemon emulsion and cauliflower creme. The sunset views from the restaurant's terrace aren't to be missed either.
For something more casual, head to The Collective, which serves pizza and gelato. The freshest seafood on the resort can be found at Fish Market, which offers sea-to-table dining. Pick your own live seafood and have the chefs cook it just the way you want.
The InterContinental Maldives is also the brand's first and only all-Club InterContinental resort, which means that all guests enjoy benefits such as complimentary afternoon tea and non-alcoholic refreshments at the poolside and beach, and even the option to enjoy a bespoke dining experience on the beach.
Click here to book a stay at the InterContinental Maldives. This story was first published in The Business Times. Click here to read the original story.